Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Effects of fibrinolytic inhibitors on mortality from upper gastrointestinal haemorrhage.

British Medical Journal 1989; 298 doi: (Published 29 April 1989) Cite this as: British Medical Journal 1989;298:1142
  1. D. A. Henry,
  2. D. L. O'Connell
  1. University of Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia.


    OBJECTIVE--To see whether fibrinolytic inhibitors are of value when given to patients with upper gastrointestinal haemorrhage. DESIGN--Meta-analysis of six randomised double blind placebo controlled trials. Two methods used for obtaining an overall estimate of effect, including a random effects model incorporating any heterogeneity of outcome in the estimate of the overall treatment effect. SETTING--Inpatient care in hospitals in the United Kingdom, Sweden, and Australia. PATIENTS--1267 Patients admitted to hospital with primary diagnosis of acute upper gastrointestinal haemorrhage. Five of the six trials included a high proportion of elderly patients. Most patients were bleeding from peptic ulcers in the stomach and duodenum (43-88%) or gastric erosions (4-23%). A variable proportion had a degree of clinical shock at entry. INTERVENTIONS--Tranexamic acid 3-6 g/day given intravenously for two or three days followed by 3-6 g/day by mouth for a further three to five days (four trials) or 4.5-12 g/day by mouth for two to seven days (two trials). END POINTS--Frequency of recurrent haemorrhage, need for surgery, and death. MAIN RESULTS--Treatment with tranexamic acid was associated with a 20-30% reduction in the rate of rebleeding, a 30-40% reduction (95% confidence interval 10% to 60%) in mortality. CONCLUSIONS--Treatment with tranexamic acid may be of value to patients considered to be at risk of dying after an upper gastrointestinal haemorrhage.